Discovering the beauty of India
“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator” – Mahatma Gandhi
Let me take you back a couple of months ago to a girl who was in much need of an adventure. She booked a trip to India with three of her close Gypsettes in search of a journey. And boy did she get one!
It’s all a blur now. Flashbacks of all the colours, unfamiliar smells and street noise.
India has changed me.
The Gypsettes and I visited the Rajasthan state of India. Imagine what India looked like hundreds of years ago. Palaces, snake Chalmers, spices, and stores overflowing with tapestry and jewels. That’s where we were heading.
We chose to cover three areas – Jaipur, Jaisalmer and Udaipur.
Jaipur - Discovering the history
Venturing in this part of India, I came across so much rich history and most of the architecture is still standing to this day. It was eye candy walking the streets and discovering ancient havelis or temples which are now encased by the city. In Jaipur the Amber (Amer) Fort sits majestically on the hillside on the outer skirts of the city. Built in the 1500s by Raja Man Singh I and served as a palace and fort for the Rajput Maharajas and their families. Elephants still transport visitors to the entrance at the top of the hill or you can chose to walk. I couldn’t help but marvel at the intricacies and workmanship of the Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace), a small area of the fort that is covered in tiny mirrors and tiles. I can see how this has influenced and inspired most of today’s fashion and architectural design.
But nothing compares to the absolute grandeur of the Taj Mahal. As you walk through the North Gate onto the grounds, it appears in the distance as a mirage. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his third wife after she died. The mausoleum is made of white marble and took twenty-two years to build. Being able to see one of the Wonders of the World was an incredible experience.
Jaisalmer - Discovering the colour
After a long overnight train ride we awoke to another shade of India. A city that reflects the golden-yellow hues of the surrounding desert. I was living out my Disney dream of being in Aladdin, walking through the market place. It was like a living storybook.
The colours in India are like none I’ve ever seen. Everywhere you looked there would be colour, impact and a story.
Still a bustling city, Jaisalmer was one of the smaller cities we visited. The Jaisalmer Fort, also known as the Golden Fort of Rajasthan, is located deep in the heart of the Thar Desert, built of golden sandstone in 1156
It is a living fort with about a quarter of the city’s population residing within its walls. Its honeycombed with narrow, winding lanes, all of them paved in stone and lined with houses and temples – along with a large number of handicraft shops, guesthouses and restaurants.
The Gypsettes and I entered the heart of the desert on the back of camels only to be chased by an incoming electrical storm. Blue-black clouds sat in opposition to the soft, desert sand. Only the thud of the camel’s hooves and the chime of their neck bells kept us company. It was a gentle escape from the bustling city. Having the silence and wide open space of the desert was very soothing for the soul.
Udaipur - Discovering me
Udaipur – The most romantic city in India. No, I wasn’t whisked away by a Maharajah or Aladdin for that matter. I did something even more cliché… I fell back in love with myself. After looking back on all the adventure, what I had done and the things I had seen, I looked back at myself at all I had accomplished. Who knew this city slicker and ‘non-camper’ could rough it out. Over 6 days we had slept on a plane, a train, in a 1000-year-old fort, in the desert and on a bus. Crazy!
I pushed my limits and challenged my insecurities. What began as an apprehensive step into the darkness, I have found my footing and on a new endeavour with my life.
India ignited something inside of me. I didn’t have an “a-ha!” moment but I have come back to Sydney revived, eager for more adventure and pretty darn happy with what I have in my life. I’m now more determined to make the most of this blessed, sweet life we have.